
Abendland (Occident) (2007) 
 Michael Köhlmeier 

The protagonist is an Austrian
mathematician who, according to the fictional invention of the author,
worked with Emmy Noether in Göttingen during the 'Golden Age' of
German Mathematics, i.e. before Hitler came to power. In chapter 6 we
learn a lot about Noether's life in Göttingen, Moscow, and the US.
(more) 


Ada and the Engine (2015) 
 Lauren Gunderson 

For Lauren Gunderson, whose plays all seem to be about emotionally potent mathematical subjects, a study of Ada Lovelace seems like a natural choice. Born Ada Byron (the daughter of the scandalous poet... (more) 


Ada's Room (2023) 
 Sharon Dodo Otoo 

This novel follows a woman's soul through four reincarnations, beginning in Africa in the 15th century and ending in Europe during World War II. All four are named "Ada", and one of them happens to be... (more) 


Against the Day (2006) 
 Thomas Pynchon 

This novel, set in the time frame 1890s to 1920s interleaves several
plots and styles, from boys' adventures to peacetime spies to gunslingers'
revenges. The forces of progress stomp over all the... (more) 


Agora (2009) 
 Alejandro Amenábar (writer and director) / Mateo Gil (writer) 

A film based on the life of Hypatia of Alexandria. What little we know of the real Hypatia suggests that she was a talented mathematician and teacher (neither of them easy professions for a woman to enter... (more) 


Ahmes, the Moonchild (2010) 
 Tefcros Michaelides 

The Rhind Papyrus is an Egyptian document from around 1550 BC featuring worked math problems. Its author (usually transliterated into Roman characters as Ahmes or Ahmose) is arguably the most ancient... (more) 


Archimedes, a planetarium opera (2007) 
 James Dashow 

Opera, as in people singing and music playing, and not the
usual Latin for "works".
James Dashow has been scripting, composing, and recording
Archimedes, a "planetarium opera" for the past ten years.
It's... (more) 


The Atrocity Archives (2004) 
 Charles Stross 

"The Laundry" is a British spy organization which is responsible for suppressing certain dangerous math research. The occult implications of mathematics became clear with Alan Turing's paper "Phase Conjugate... (more) 


Babbage (2008) 
 Claire Barker (writerdirector) / Eamon Wyse (writer) 

A 2010 movie sponsored by the British Council and directed by Claire Barker. It is a short, 15minute vignette, a dramatization of a fictional dinner conversation between Charles Babbage, his religious... (more) 


The Babelogic of Mathematics (2023) 
 Vijay Fafat 

This is a creation myth for mathematics itself, incorporating the writing styles of both the Book of Genesis and Nasadiya Sukta. The author, it should be noted, is a frequent contributor to this website... (more) 


Battle of the Frog and the Mouse (1984) 
 John Hays 

This succinct, wellwrittten fable captures the polemics between Hilbert and Brouwer related to Hilbert's Formalist position and Brouwer's Constructivist position vis a vis the foundations of mathematics... (more) 


A Beautiful Mind (2001) 
 Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman 

Although the book A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr. is not fictional, Ron Howard's film (released December 2001) most certainly is. (I say this not as a complaint, but just to justify... (more) 


Beyond the Limit: The Dream of Sofya Kovalevskaya (2002) 
 Joan Spicci 

This book is a novelized account of the life of
Sofia Kovalevskaya (aka Sonia Kovalevskey and infinitely1 many alternative
spellings), famous today as the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in
mathematics.... (more) 



The Brady Kids (Episode: It's All Greek to Me) (1972) 
 Marc Richards (screenwriter) / Marc Richards (director) 

I had completely forgotten that there was a cartoon about the Brady Bunch until I ran across this while searching for mathematical fiction. But, it looks so familiar (the pet pandas, the cheesy animation,... (more) 


Breaking the Code (1986) 
 Hugh Whitemore (playwright) 

This biography of Alan Turing is a "character study" of this
fascinating mathematician. Although we do see some mathematics (including
an especially nice description of Gödel's Theorem and its mathematical
significance)... (more) 


A Calculated Demise (2007) 
 Robert Spiller 

A high school math teacher, Bonnie Pinkwater, solves the mystery surrounding the murder of a PE teacher, a student, and the family of the boy suspected in the killing.
This sequel to The Witch of Agnesi... (more) 


Calculus (Newton's Whores) (2004) 
 Carl Djerassi 

The credit for the invention of calculus has long been contested, being claimed by both Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz. A committee established by the Royal Society in 1712 concluded that Newton was... (more) 


The Cambridge Quintet (1999) 
 John L. Casti 

A group of famous historical figures, including Wittegenstein,
Schrödinger, J.B.S. Haldane, and Alan Turing meet at the home of
C.P. Snow to discuss the question of whether machines can think.
John... (more) 


Cantor’s Dragon (2014) 
 Craig DeLancy 

An absolutely fabulous tale of a man outwitting the devil, reminiscent of “The Devil and Simon Flagg” and in a very creative way. George Cantor, who has been hospitalized with mental exhaustion from... (more) 


Cardano and the Case of the Cubic (2005) 
 Jeff Adams 

This parody of early 20th century "Hard Boiled Private Detective" novels is instead a short story about 16th century mathematician Gerolamo Cardano.
Its opening paragraphs clearly set the tone:
It... (more) 


Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (1955) 
 Jean Lee Latham 

The life of early American mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch, famous for his work on techniques of navigation, is fictionalized in this novel for young adults. Although the mathematical details are not... (more) 


Le Cas de Sophie K. (2005) 
 JeanFrangois Peyret (playwright and director) 

This play about Sofya Kovalevskaya emphasizes her nihilistic leanings (as expressed in Kovalevskaya's own fiction). The production featured unusual modern staging, such as having three actresses portraying... (more) 


A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel (2007) 
 Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal 

The intertwined stories of Ravi, a Stanford student taking a course on "Infinity" in the 1980's, and his grandfather who was jailed for blasphemy in New Jersey in 1919 constitute a philosophical investigation... (more) 


City of Infinite Bridges (2007) 
 Alex Rose 

A very short, definitely fictional but delightful little tale about Katharina Gsell, Euler's wife. In this fictional account, Katharina is supposed to have displayed a graph of the 7 Konigsberg bridges... (more) 


Colonel Lágrimas (2016) 
 Carlos Fonseca Suárez 

This novel is loosely based on the life of Alexander Grothendieck and is "creatively" constructed, like the writings of the Oulipo group or Borges. The Costa Rican/Puerto Rican author focuses much of his attention on Latin America and war, but mathematics itself and eccentricities (Grothendieck was eccentric!) also are major themes. The English version was translated by Megan McDowell.
(more) 


Conceiving Ada (1997) 
 Lynn HershmanLeeson


Bizarre, lowbudget film in which a female computer programmer from the 20th century accesses the memories of Ada Lovelace, the 19th century mathematician and daughter of the poet Lord Byron. The film... (more) 


Continuums (2008) 
 Robert Carr 

The decisions we make and the difficulty in accepting the consequences is the main focus of this book about a Romanian mathematician who leaves her country and her daughter to be in a place that she could... (more) 


Cryptonomicon (1998) 
 Neal Stephenson 

This "cult" novel of mathematics, computer science, espionage and
warfare follows a mathematician through World War II and his grandson
through the creation of a (less than ordinary) silicon valley startup
company.... (more) 


The Cypher Bureau (2018) 
 Eilidh McGinness 

This work of historical fiction tells the story of Marian Rejewski, a Polish mathematician who used algebraic methods to break the Nazi Enigma code before the beginning of World War II. Most of the book... (more) 


Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton (2002) 
 Philip Kerr 

A multiplemurder mystery which outlandishly casts Newton in the role of Sherlock Holmes during his tenure as Warden at the British Royal Mint (Watson is played Christopher Ellis, nephew of mathematician... (more) 


Dead Ancients Trilogy (2008) 
 Peter Hobbs 

Pythagoras explains in first person his celebrated theorem, complete with diagrams and shaded triangles. It is a source of substantial chagrin to him because it naturally leads to the irrational numbers.... (more) 


The Death of Archimedes (1923) 
 Karel Capek 

As history usually tells the story, Archimedes is killed by a Roman
soldier who did not realize who he was. In this version, however, the
centurion is well aware of who he is speaking with. While he... (more) 



The Difference Engine (1991) 
 William Gibson / Bruce Sterling 

Two of the innovators of the cyberpunk novel  famous for showing how messed up the future will be because of technology  turn everything around and show us instead how great the past would have been... (more) 


Dirac (2006) 
 Dietmar Dath 

The protagonist tries to write a novel
about the mathematician and physicist Paul Dirac. Excerpts from
Dirac's works and Geoffrey A. Landis' novel "Ripples in the Dirac
Sea" are implemented in the plot, so you can learn a lot about
mathematics and quantum physics.
(As far as I know, this novel is currently only available in the original German. Please correct me if I'm wrong.) (more) 


A Disappearing Number (2007) 
 Simon McBurney 

Scenes of Srinivasa Ramanujan's collaboration with G.H. Hardy around the time of World War I are mixed in with modern storylines including an Indian physicist who has applied Ramanujan's work to String... (more) 


The Divine Proportions of Luca Pacioli (2019) 
 W.A.W. Parker 

This novel is a biography of Fra Luca Pacioli in fictionalized form. Pacioli who lived from 1447 to 1517 was an Italian mathematician and Franciscan friar who authored one of the first printed mathematics... (more) 


Doctor Who: The Turing Test (2000) 
 Paul Leonard 

Mathematician Alan Turing appears as a primary character in this unusual Doctor Who novel, and narrates the first third of it. (The other two thirds are narrated by authors Graham Greene and Joseph Heller... (more) 


Doing our Babbage (1992) 
 Ira Slobodien 

The mind of 19th century mathematician Charles Babbage is brought back to life in electronic/mechanical form, becomes involved in a kinky "love rectangle" with the three scientists responsible (two women... (more) 


D'Alembert's Principle: A Novel in Three Panels (2000) 
 Andrew Crumey 

A fictionalized presentation of the life (and love) of Jean le Rond
D'Alembert (17171783), best known  to me at least  as the first
to study and solve the famous linear wave equation u_xx + c u_tt = 0.
See the online
bookreview at at MAA Online. (more) 


An Elegant Solution (2013) 
 Paul Robertson 

A fictionalized account of the life of Leonhard Euler, focusing on his relationship with the Bernoullis and told from the perspective of Christian theology. The novel also takes on aspects of a murder... (more) 


Emilie (2010) 
 Kaija Saariaho (composer)/Amin Maalouf (libretto) 

In this opera, a single performer portrays the final days in the life of Émilie du Châtelet, whose promising career as a mathematical physicist in the 18th century was tragically cut short at the age of 42. Émilie du Châtelet's story is also told in two recent plays: see Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight and Legacy of Light . (more) 



Emmy Noether: The Mother of Modern Algebra (2008) 
 Margaret B.W. Tent 

A semifictional biography of Emmy Noether written for young adults.
The book has received positive reviews from many mathematicians who hope (as, one supposes, does the author) that young readers will... (more) 


Emmy's Time (2018) 
 Anthony Bonato 

The main storyline is quite reminiscent of the pulp era, with its awshucks use of "recently discovered temporal fields" and "earth is about to be destroyed unless one brilliant mathematician can solve... (more) 


Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace (2017) 
 Jennifer Chiaverini 

This voluminous (448 page) work of historical fiction is told in first person from the perspective of Ada Byron King (Lady Lovelace) herself. Nevertheless, as the author can count on the reader to have... (more) 


Enigma (1995) 
 Robert Harris / Tom Stoppard 

In this this espionage story set in England's Bletchley Park at the height of the Second World War, Tom Jericho is a clever mathematician at the famous code breaking facility who  either despite or because... (more) 



Evariste and Heloise (2008) 
 Marco Abate 

This contribution to the collection The Shape of Content is difficult to classify. Combining fiction and fact, essay and comic book, fantasy and philosophy, it essentially takes the form of a proposal... (more) 


Evariste Galois (1965) 
 Alexadre Astruc (writer and director) 

Short film about the romantic and tragic death of Galois, the young mathematician whose research laid the foundation for Group Theory. I haven't actually seen the film, but the following quote (stolen... (more) 



The Fall of Man In Wilmslow (2009) 
 David Lagercrantz 

Before he gained fame in the US as the Swedish author taking over the mystery series featuring the fictional heroine Lisbeth Sander, David Lagercrantz wrote this novel about the death of mathematician... (more) 


Fermat's Legacy (1992) 
 Ian Randal Strock 

A funny little story about the slightly malicious reason why Fermat wrote his famous note about his Last Conjecture in the margin of a book. Should be taken as just a chuckleworthy piece rather... (more) 


Fermat's Last Tango (2000) 
 Joanne Sydney Lessner / Joshua Rosenblum 

Fermat's Last Tango is an intelligently written, hilarious fantasia
based on Andrew Wiles' 1993 proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. The main plot consists of a love triangle between Daniel
Keane... (more) 


The Fibonacci Confessions (2010) 
 Graham Wade 

A historical novel telling the life story of Leonardo Pisano, perhaps the most famous European mathematician of the Middle Ages, better known today as Fibonacci.
We know very little of the historical... (more) 


Flow Down Like Silver: Hypatia of Alexandria (2009) 
 Ki Longfellow 

Another novel about the historical figure Hypatia of Alexandria whose murder by Christian zealots as the Ancient Greek culture faded away makes her a good subject for authors with certain political and... (more) 


Flowers Stained with Moonlight (2005) 
 Catherine Shaw 

In this sequel to The ThreeBody Problem, Vanessa Duncan is called upon to save an innocent young woman, falsely suspected of murdering her older and unlikable husband. Although there is no mathematics... (more) 



La formule de Stokes, roman (2016) 
 Michèle Audin 

The author, a professional mathematician as well as a member of the Oulipo literary group, wrote this unusual novel whose protagonist is not a person or animal but a formula. At least, that is what I... (more) 


The Fourth Quadrant (2011) 
 Dorothy Lumley 

The story has some elements of mathematics built in. A ransom note coded into a ciphered message broken up on paper in 4 quadrants, Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, references to the Difference Engine.... (more) 


The French Mathematician (1998) 
 Tom Petsinis 

A fictionalized account (in first person) of the life and untimely
death of Evariste Galois, originator of the mathematical subject now
known as group theory.
This is a story about a mathematician,... (more) 


Freud's Megalomania: A Novel (2001) 
 Israel Rosenfield 

This is an intriguing piece of work, mixing fact
with fiction and different styles (from the scientific essay to
the diary), probably best understood as an ironic look upon the
"Freud wars".... (more) 


Frobenius: A Sesquilogue (1996) 
 Lee Rudolph 

A fictionalized account of the life of Hamilton as remembered by
Frobenius (in verse). (A slightly different version was published in
the Mathematical Intelligencer.)
(more) 


Galileo (1938) 
 Bertolt Brecht 

Of course, Brecht's biographical play takes more of a political than a mathematical view of the life of the famous astronomer/mathematician. Note that Joseph Losey, who directed the first American production... (more) 




Georgia on My Mind (1995) 
 Charles Sheffield 

The story has to do with Babbage's
Analytical Engine and a remote region of Antarctica (the "Georgia"
of the title). The mathematics bit, aside from Babbage, consists
of a nonlinear optimization... (more) 


Die Gleichung des Lebens [The Equation of Life] (2017) 
 Norman Ohler 

This German novel is based on the true story of Leonhard Euler being assigned by Frederick the Great to supervise the draining of the Oderbruch marshlands near Berlin. From reviews I have read, I know... (more) 


God and Stephen Hawking (2000) 
 Robin Hawdon 

Although most people know him as a "scientist", Stephen Hawking is probably the best known living mathematician. (Technically, he is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University.) This play examines his life and work.
(more) 



Gödel geht [Gödel's Exit] (1991) 
 Andreas Findig 

Kurt Gödel's reflection steps out of the mirror and joins him at his table in a cafe. (That may seem weird, but the author assures us that such fantastical things are always happening in Vienna.) Since... (more) 


Gödel Incomplete (2013) 
 Martha Goddard (Writer and Director) 

A 21st century physicist repeatedly travels back in time for short visits to the 20th century as a result of her experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. For completely unexplained reasons, she always... (more) 


Hapgood (1988) 
 Tom Stoppard 

A brief discussion of Euler's solution to the Königsburg Bridge Problem appears in Stoppard's play about espionage and quantum physics.
When a British physicist doubleagent is accused of giving... (more) 


Herbrand's Conjecture and the White Sox Scandal (1993) 
 Eliot Fintushel 

Hi, I'm Eliot Fintushel, the author of HERBRAND'S CONJECTURE AND THE WHITE
SOX SCANDAL. The idea is that the mathematical logician Jacques Herbrand
who actually did die in a mountaineering accident... (more) 


Hidden Figures (2016) 
 Allison Schroeder (writer) / Theodore Melfi (director and writer) 

Hidden Figures is a "Hollywoodized" version of the true story of three women who worked in the "colored computers" unit at NASA's Langley Research Center. In particular, it follows Katherine (Goble)... (more) 


A Hill on the Dark Side of the Moon (1983) 
 Lennart Hjulström 

A Swedish film about the life of Sonia Kovalevsky. The title refers,
apparently, to a site on the moon which was actually named in her
honor. The film tends to avoid the mathematics (for example, melodramatic... (more) 


Hinton (2020) 
 Mark Blacklock 

Charles Howard Hinton was a controversial mathematician working in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Howard Hinton, as he was known, studied and wrote about "the fourth dimension" and is best known... (more) 


Hypatia or The Divine Algebra (2000) 
 Mac Wellman 

Artistically produced offBroadway play about the famous female
mathematician who was tortured to death by Christian monks in the 5th
Century. In Wellman's unusual telling, however, Hypatia ends up... (more) 


Hypatia's Math: A Play (2016) 
 Daniel S. Helman 

This play about the life of the ancient Greek mathematician Hypatia features music, dance, and the ghost of Hypatia herself. It was first performed in 2016 at the Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy in... (more) 


Hypatia: New Foes with an Old Face (1852) 
 Charles Kingsley 

A fictionalized account of the life and murder of the ancient Greek mathematician Hypatia. This
book, written in 1852 by Reverend Kingsley, focuses more on the
religious implications (especially the... (more) 


The Imitation Game (2014) 
 Morten Tyldum (director) / Graham Moore (screenplay) 

This film about Alan Turing and his role in breaking the Nazi enigma code has been a critical and financial success. It has won numerous awards and brought huge crowds of people to see a movie about a... (more) 


Improbable (2005) 
 Adam Fawer 

A probability expert suffering from epilepsy (with hints of schizophrenia) is in over his head with gambling debts to the Russian mob and a beautiful, renegade CIA agent before discovering that he has the ability to predict the future. A running subplot is the mathematical aspects of determinism (i.e. (more) 


In Good King Charles's Golden Days (1939) 
 George Bernard Shaw 

Considered by many to be Shaw's worst play, this late example of his
witty writing may be of special interest to visitors to this site. It
takes place at the home of Sir Isaac Newton where he is joined... (more) 


Incompleteness (2004) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis 

A play by the author of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture on the last, sad days in the life of Kurt Gödel. After a "workshop production" in Athens, Greece (June 2428, 2003) the show's official... (more) 


The Indian Clerk (2007) 
 David Leavitt 

Acclaimed author, Leavitt, presents a fictionalized version of one of the most famous "human interest stories" in mathematical history: the short life and career of Srinivasa Ramanujan. Focusing largely... (more) 


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) 
 James Mangold / Jez Butterworth/JohnHenry Butterworth/David Koepp 

I finally saw this final installment of the Indiana Jones movies and was surprised that there was a mathematical aspect to it. In hindsight, I realize that the reason I did not hear about it is that it... (more) 


Infinities (2002) 
 John Barrow 

This play, written by Cambridge cosmologist John Barrow, has been produced and performed in Italy (Milan and Valencia). It is made up of five separate vignettes several of which touch on the deep mathematics... (more) 


Infinity (1996) 
 Patricia Broderick 

It's about the early years of Richard Feynman, up to the completion
of the Manhattan Project, and the death of his wife.
What I like particularily is a scene in NY's Chinatown where [Feynman]
races... (more) 


The Ingenious Mr. Spinola (1924) 
 Ernest Bramah 

Max Carrados is a blind amateur detective genius, quite popular in the early 20th century, but mostly forgotten since then. (Such is also the fate of E.B.'s Kai Lung fantasy stories.)
... (more) 


An Instance of the Fingerpost (1999) 
 Iain Pears 

A murder mystery set in Oxford in the 1660's. Mathematician John
Wallis plays a major role as a character in the book (and Newton a
small role). See the review at MAA
online.
A very fine piece... (more) 


Instantiation (2019) 
 Greg Egan 

In this sequel to 3adica, the conscious video game characters plan an escape that feels like a cross between Mission Impossible and Inception, but with the addition of famous mathematicians sitting around... (more) 



The Invention of Ana [Forestillinger om Ana Ivan] (2016) 
 Mikkel Rosengaard 

A Danish writer visiting New York becomes obsessed with the life story of Ana Ivan, a Romanian artist that he meets. She tells him about two lovers, about her parents' lives under the autocratic rule... (more) 


Irrational Numbers (2008) 
 Robert Spiller 

Another mystery about high school math teacher Bonnie Pinkwater by the author of Witch of Agnesi. Like the others in this series, this is a murder mystery with adult themes (violence, homosexuality, etc.)... (more) 


The Ishango Bone (2012) 
 Paul Hastings Wilson 

Amiele becomes the first female student at Trinity College and goes on to disprove the Riemann Hypothesis at the age of 26, but is denied the Fields Medal. Written as if it were her life story recorded... (more) 


I’ll Follow The Sun (2014) 
 Paul Di Filippo 

An American math student in Canada in 1964 obtains help from his math professor, Chan Davis, to avoid being drafted into the military during the Vietnam War, which had already killed his uncle. The math... (more) 


The Jester and the Mathematician (2000) 
 Alan R. Gordon 

A short historical fiction piece involving Leonardo of Pisa ("Fibonacci"). Interesting story which features Fibonacci talking briefly about his rabbitseries/sequence, his abacusduel with Pisa's foremost... (more) 


Kepler: A Novel (1981) 
 John Banville 

Johannes Kepler, the most famous Rennaissance court mathematician,
is remembered today for his successes, especially his explicit
description of planetary orbits. However, he also had some rather
strange... (more) 


Küplerin Savasi (2021) 
 Ahmet Baki Yerli 

This Turkish novel for young adults appears to be a fictionalized account of the dispute between Tartaglia and Cardano over the solution to cubic equations. A nice account of the true story can be found here in Quanta Magazine, but I'm afraid I do not know anything more about Yerli's book which so far has only been published in Turkish. (more) 


La formula di Ramanujan (2001) 
 Marco Abate (writer) / P. Ongaro (artist) 

A trip from Berkeley to India via Oxford to recover the lost Ramanujan's notebooks, pursued independently
by two (again, realistic) mathematicians, both driven by revenge, though of different kind.
Along... (more) 


Le larmes de saint Laurent (Wonder) (2010) 
 Dominique Fortier 

The three separate stories that comprise this book are tied together by common themes of romance, death and volcanism. It is because of the second story, entitled "Harmony of the Spheres", that I am including... (more) 


Leap (2004) 
 Lauren Gunderson 

This play explores the inspiration for Isaac Newton's amazing discoveries in 1664, personifying it in the form of two young girls whose playful interaction leads to the results we remember Newton for today.... (more) 


Legacy of Light (2009) 
 Karen Zacarías 

Two tales of discovery and pregnancy are told in this play. An astrophysicist at the Newton Institute whose team has discovered evidence of a planet in formation feels that she is too old to be pregnant... (more) 


Let Newton Be! (2011) 
 Craig Baxter 

The three actors in this play portray Isaac Newton at three different stages of his life, as well as occasionally representing other people. Interestingly, the three Newton's interact with each other,... (more) 


Letters to a Young Mathematician (2006) 
 Ian Stewart 

I listed this one here before I had a chance to read it and am now wondering whether it should be counted as fiction at all. This is an excellent book which provides a lot of useful information about... (more) 


Life After Genius (2008) 
 M. Ann Jacoby 

Although his family would normally expect him to stay in their small town and take over the family business (a combination of a furniture store and funeral home), Mead Fegley's "genius" gives him the unprecedented... (more) 


Lift: The Rise of MatheLinguaMusica (2024) 
 Ray Anderson 

In this science fiction novel, the World Mathematical Council has determined that humanity will soon be driven to extinction by our violent tendencies. To stop this from happening, they use their timemachine... (more) 


The Limit (2019) 
 Freya Smith / Jack Williams 

This poprock musical about the life of mathematician Sophie Germain was performed in March 2019 at the VAULT festival in London.
The playwrights were supposedly looking for a historical female character... (more) 


A Little Mathematician  Katie (2002) 
 Tadashi Miura 

A sweet little book by an author who wanted to be a math teacher and hopes he can "introduce the joy of learning mathematics to every student in this world through this story".
A little girl named Katie... (more) 


Logicomix (2008) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou 

A graphic novel on the history of mathematical logic by the authors of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture and Turing. In an interview (available online here) Papadimitriou says:
It is really... (more) 


Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land (2005) 
 John Crowley 

This book is made up of notes and email messages from a feminist historian interspersed with chapters from a previously unknown novel by Lord Byron which she has discovered while researching his daughter,... (more) 



Lost in the Math Museum (2022) 
 Colin Adams 

Teenager Kallie, who doesn't particularly care for math, gets trapped in a math museum with her father and his friend Maria. They endure horrific dangers and meet the ghosts of famous mathematicians (as... (more) 


Lovesong of the Electric Bear (2005) 
 Snoo Wilson (playwright) 

This play about Alan Turing, told from the point of view of Porgy, his teddy bear, was produced as part of the Summer 2005 season at the Potomac Theater Project in Maryland. Turing certainly had both... (more) 


Machines Like Me (2019) 
 Ian McEwan 

There are many ways to describe this book without mentioning mathematics: It is a romance between Charlie (a slacker who dabbles in daytrading) and Miranda (the law student who lives in the apartment... (more) 


A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines (2006) 
 Janna Levin


This novel about Alan Turing and Kurt Gödel contains much that has already been said many times before, and occasionally "tries too hard" artistically. Still I very much enjoyed reading it, and even... (more) 


The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) 
 Matt Brown (Screenwriter and Director) 

This biographical film starring Dev Patel as Ramanujan and Jeremy Irons as Hardy is based on the biography of the same name by Robert Kaniglel. Because it is a rather reliable adaptation of that nonfictional... (more) 


Mandelbrot the Magnificent (2017) 
 Liz Ziemska 

This novella is what I would call a "feel good fantasy" about the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot who coined the term fractal.
It takes the form of a memoir written by an elderly Mandelbrot recalling... (more) 


The MANIAC (2023) 
 Benjamin Labatut 

The life of John von Neumann is the main focus of this book which (like the author's other work in this database) could easily be mistaken for a nonfictional history book. The middle portion of the book... (more) 


The Mathematician Repents (2004) 
 Estep Nagy 

A short story (?) in which Paul Erdős wakes up in the home of a Parisian mathematician, seems a bit confused, wanders around, and says some strange things. No real math is discussed in the story,... (more) 


The Mathematician's Shiva (2014) 
 Stuart Rojstaczer 

When Rachela Karnokovich dies, her family's attempt to conduct the Jewish mourning ritual of sitting shiva is disturbed by the many strangers who descend on her Madison, WI home. Although she never won... (more) 


The Mathematics of Friedrich Gauss (2012) 
 D.W. Wilson 

A math teacher compares his life with that of the great German mathematician C.F. Gauss as he ponders his own marital difficulties.
This short story appears in the anthology "Once You Break a Knuckle" which was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas prize.
(more) 



Maths a mort (1990) 
 Margot Bruyère 

This murder mystery which takes place at the IHES in Paris was originally entitled "Dismoi qui tu aimes (je te dirai
qui tu hais)". However, it has just been
be republished (Fall of 2002) with a change... (more) 


Measuring the World (2006) 
 Daniel Kehlmann 

Two famous Germans of the 19th Century, mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss and explorer/geologist Alexander von Humboldt, are irreverently presented in this novel which topped the sales charts in Germany... (more) 


Mersenne's Mistake (2008) 
 Jason Earls 

This is a nice piece of mathematical fiction in which the mathematician/monk Marin Mersenne encounters a demon with amazing mathematical skills. Like the other stories by Earls, this seems to be designed to showcase the interesting numbers which he has found using computer algebra tools.
(more) 


Morte di un matematico napoletano (1992) 
 Mario Martone (director) 

"This movie describes the last day in [the] life of a
famous Italian mathematician: Renato Caccioppoli. He was a fascinating and
discussed person in Naples' political and cultural life. [A] member... (more) 


Mrs. Einstein (1998) 
 Anna McGrail 

It's a wonderful novel that invents a history for Einstein's illegitimate daughter, about whom little is known. In the novel, she's a mathematician who becomes obsessed with her father's refusal to acknowledge... (more) 


Murder, She Conjectured (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

A police psychologist attending a conference in Cambridge, England is pulled into an unsolved murder mystery by her mathematician boyfriend. An important theme of the story is the oppresive sexism that... (more) 


The Music of the Spheres (2001) 
 Elizabeth Redfern 

A highly praised (a la Caleb Carr) historical thriller set in Europe in
1795, involving lots of astronomy. This includes Laplace musing over his
theorem that gravitational perturbations are bounded, and his wondering
if a similar theorem applies to history.
(more) 


Napier's Bones (2011) 
 Derryl Murphy 

In the fantasy/SF world of this novel, numerates are special people who are aware of the fact that numbers themselves are alive and can be coaxed or controlled into doing seemingly magical things for them.... (more) 


Necroscope (Series) (1992) 
 Brian Lumley 

Harry Keogh is a "necroscope" who can communicate with the dead. So, when omens suggest that the Möbius strip and spacetime are going to be relevant to his plans in the near future, he goes straight... (more) 


Newton's Gift (1979) 
 Paul J. Nahin 

Time traveller Wallace John Steinhope believes that he will be able to help
his hero, Isaac Newton, avoid the tedium of computation by bringing him an electronic
calculator that can do simple arithmetic.... (more) 


Newton's Hooke (2004) 
 David Pinner 

A play about Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke which presents "the dark side" of Newton. Emphasis is put on his egotism (not only does he think that he is incomparably brilliant, but he also seems to think... (more) 




Operation Chaos / Operation Changeling (1969) 
 Poul Anderson 

Part of a series of stories about detectives who use magic and religion published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine in the 1960s, Operation Changeling (later published in novelized form in Operation... (more) 


Oracle (2000) 
 Greg Egan 

The protagonist, Robert Stoney is a british mathematician who worked on German codes during WW II, was greatly affected by the death of a close friend, and was later persecuted for his homosexuality. ... (more) 


The Parrot's Theorem (2000) 
 Denis Guedj 

This is an ambitious novel, a magical fantasy about a talking parrot bought at a flea market in France who, with the help of the personal library of a reclusive mathematical genius, teaches some children... (more) 


Partition (2003) 
 Ira Hauptman 

According to Ken Ribet's review of the San Francisco production in the Notices of the AMS, this play about the interaction between the mathematicians Hardy and Ramanujan explores the "partitions" that... (more) 


Percentage Player (1958) 
 Leslie Charteris 

A really hilarious and confusing tale which has to be read very slowly to get the full gist, as it happens in almost every single probability problem one tries to solve. How many times have you been... (more) 


Perelman’s Refusal [Les Refus de Grigori Perelman]
(2017) 
 Philippe Zaouati 

I was quite concerned when I first heard that the American Mathematical Society was publishing this "novel"
that promised "to immerse [the reader] in the tormented mind" of Grigori Perelman. I became... (more) 


PopCo (2004) 
 Scarlett Thomas 

Alice was raised by her grandparents, a mathematician and a cryptographer, and now uses what she learned from them to make mathematical puzzles for children. Her employer, the giant toy company "PopCo",... (more) 


Prince of Mathematics: Carl Friedrich Gauss (2006) 
 Margaret B.W. Tent 

A fictionalized account of the life and achievements of one of history's greatest mathematicians, told in a style which is appropriate for children but also maintains the interest of adult readers.
(I'm... (more) 


The Pythagoras Problem (2019) 
 Trevor Baxendale 

A short story involving the 13th Doctor, a female, and (a drunken) Pythagoras, with his daughter, Myia. The piece deftly uses the idea that certain types of geometric patterns act as magical talismans... (more) 


Pythagoras the Mathemagician (2010) 
 Karim El Koussa 

This novel concerns the ancient Greek mathematician to whom we generally attribute the theorem relating the lengths of the sides of a right triangle. However, it focuses much more on his religious, mystical,... (more) 


Pythagoras' Revenge: A Mathematical Mystery (2009) 
 Arturo Sangalli 

Freelance science journalist Sangalli has written a book which presents some historical information about Pythagoras and his beliefs in the form of a novel of the detail driven conspiracy theory adventure... (more) 


Pythagoras's Darkest Hour (2007) 
 Colin Adams 

A humorous short story from the author of Mathematically Bent which tells the true story of the discovery of the Pythagorean Theorem. Well, actually, perhaps it isn't exactly true...but it is so good,... (more) 


Pythagorean Crimes (2006) 
 Tefcros Michaelides 

This murder mystery takes place amid the exciting developments occurring in the mathematical and artistic communities in Europe between 1900 and 1931. Much of what one will learn by reading this book... (more) 


Quaternia (2015) 
 Tom Petsinis 

Ivan, the main character in Tom Petsinis' Quaternia, is a fictional teenager who spends a lot of his time and energy on playing video games. Ivan goes beyond merely devoting so much time to this hobby... (more) 


Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle Volume 1 (2003) 
 Neal Stephenson 

This long novel from the author of Cryptonomicon does for 17th Century mathematics what that earlier novel did for the 20th century. Namely, it deifies some great historical mathematicians (this time... (more) 



Der Rechenmeister [aka The Mathematician] (1999) 
 Dieter Jörgensen 

When I browsed through your list I found one book missing that I have in my library: "Der Rechenmeister" by Dieter Jörgensen is a novel describing the life of Niccolo Tartaglia in Venice and his battle... (more) 


Roten av minus én [The Square Root of Minus One] (2006) 
 Atle Næss 

There are three different levels of reality in this novel: On the one hand it is the story of Terje Huuse, a Norwegian mathematician undergoing a midlife crisis. That part of the story is presented through... (more) 



The SandReckoner (2000) 
 Gillian Bradshaw 

In this historical novel whose title is copied from one Archimedes' own works, the famous Greek mathematician is your typical math nerd, always
so wrapped up in his computations that he is barely aware... (more) 


Schwarzschild Radius (1987) 
 Connie Willis 

Connie Willis' shortstory ``Schwarzschild Radius'' is based on events
in the life of Karl Schwarzschild, who gave the first exact solutions
to the equations of general relativity. The
historical aspects... (more) 


Sekret Enigmy (1979) 
 Roman Wionczek


Although Alan Turing tends to get much of the credit for breaking the Nazi "Enigma" codes during World War II, three Polish mathematicians did preliminary work that (depending on who you ask) either equally brilliant and important or even more so. This film tells their story, featuring some real acts of heroism.
(more) 


Shakespeare Predicted it All (2003) 
 Dietmar Dath 

An artistically composed piece about Georg Cantor, inventor of the theory of transfinite cardinals, in the form of a dialogue between the characters "1" and "2", both of whom are either Cantor or Hamlet.... (more) 


Sharper than a Sword (1983) 
 Alexander Petrovich Kazantsev 

The famous Soviet science fiction author Kazantsev wrote this fantasy adventure featuring Pierre de Fermat. as the primary protagonist.
As far as I know, the book is out of print and available only... (more) 


Shooting the Sun (2004) 
 Max Byrd 

Historical mathematicians Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage play supporting roles in this novel about an expedition into uncharted Indian territory to capture the first photograph of a solar eclipse at... (more) 


Solenoid (2015) 
 Mircea Cartarescu 

In this surrealistic existentialist novel, a school teacher in Romania (who has much in common with the author) seeks to escape from his boring life. A solenoid built into the foundation of his new house... (more) 


Sophie's Diary (2004) 
 Dora Musielak 

Sophie Germain famously studied mathematics at night by candlelight despite her parents' insistence that she give up this unfeminine discipline. She then went on to become one of the great mathematician's... (more) 


The Square Root of Pythagoras (1999) 
 Paul Di Filippo/Rudy Rucker 

Pythagoras has been granted the magical power of five numbers.
Along the way he discusses his theorem, the five Platonic solids,
and his general philosophy about numbers and the universe. But
he... (more) 


Stella Maris (2022) 
 Cormac McCarthy 

Readers of McCarthy's 2022 novel The Passenger learn quickly that its protagonist's sister was a mathematical prodigy who committed suicide. That isolated fact provides motivation for the remainder of... (more) 


Still She Haunts Me (2001) 
 Katie Roiphe 

A novel about the life of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll). I have not
read it, and it most certainly focuses more on his affections for Alice than on
his mathematics, but I suppose there must be... (more) 


Summer Solstice (1985) 
 Charles Leonard Harness 

I did enjoy reading this short story (nominated for a Nebula award in 1985)
in which the famous Greek mathematician Eratosthenes determines the Earth's
circumference and meets a shipwrecked alien, but... (more) 


Super 30 (2019) 
 Vikas Bahl (director) / Sanjeev Dutta (writer) 

A superb Bollywood movie based on a real life hero, Anand Kumar, who seems so fictional and yet, so very real in the context of a country like India. The very best in human values which appeal to a higher... (more) 


Symmetry and the Expatriate (2012) 
 Tefcros Michaelides 

A fictional character obsessed with symmetry is forced by horrific circumstances to travel around Europe in the early 20th century where he meets famous mathematicians, relatives of famous mathematicians,... (more) 


A Szirakuzai Óriás [A Giant of Syracuse] (1959) 
 Száva István 

This Hungarian novelization of the life of Archimedes was brought to my attention by frequent site contributor Vijay Fafat. Unfortunately, we know very little about it. It has been republished numerous times, but not translated into English AFAIK. If you have read this book and can tell us more about it (especially its mathematical contact), please write. (more) 


Tangents (1986) 
 Greg Bear 

There are far too many mathematical stories about finding a way to
travel into "other dimensions". Still, this one is one of my
favorites. Not only do we see a clever approach to this "old"
storyline,... (more) 


Tenet (2012) 
 Lorne Campbell/ Sandy Grierson 

Évariste Galois is one of two characters in this play, whose full title is apparently "Tenet: A True Story About the Revolutionary Politics of Telling the Truth about Truth as Edited by Someone Who is... (more) 


The Tenth Muse (2019) 
 Catherine Chung 

This wideranging work of historical fiction unfolds in the period from just before World War II into the 1960s, in America, Europe and Asia. In the first chapter, the narrator is already an aging mathematician... (more) 


The Thousand (2010) 
 Kevin Guilfoile 

Two competing Pythagorean cults (one "fundamentalist" and the other believing in "further revelations") are behind worldwide disasters such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and hurricane Katrina in this conspiracy... (more) 


The Three Body Problem (2004) 
 Catherine Shaw 

A cleverly titled novel that uses a historical mathematical contest
and several characters based on real mathematicians as the basis for a
murder mystery. Of special interest is the novel's presentation... (more) 


The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage (2015) 
 Sydney Padua 

This graphic novel starts out as a basically realistic fictionalized biography of the 19th century mathematicians Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, even if it is a biography with a snarky sense of humor.... (more) 


Too Much Happiness (2009) 
 Alice Munro 

The penultimate collection of short stories from Nobel laureate Alice Munro features a title story about the final days of Sonia Kovalevskaya. The main source of tension in the story is her love affair... (more) 


The Trachtenberg Speed System (2014) 
 Buzz Mauro 

Realizing that he is likely to die there, Jakow Trachtenberg fantasizes that the method of mental computation that he has created while at a Nazi concentration camp will live on beyond him. A young guard... (more) 


Turing (A Novel About Computation) (2003) 
 Christos Papadimitriou 

The four vertices of an unlikely love "rectangle" are (a) a dying, maverick cryptographer, (b) a pregnant Internet wiz, (c) a romantic middleaged Greek archaeologist and (d) Turing, an artificially intelligent... (more) 


The Turing Enigma (2011) 
 Peter Wild (Screenwriter and Director) 

Maths professor Jonah Block finds himself in possession of a 50 year old postcard from Alan Turing over which people have been killed. He quickly realizes it is the (literal) key to decoding a series... (more) 


Turing's Delirium (2007) 
 Edmundo Paz Soldan 

This is a hackercounterhacker story set in Bolivia, where the newly resurrected president hires an NSA official to set up the country's counterespionage / cybersecurity unit ("Black Chamber"). The... (more) 


Ultima lezione a Gottinga [Last lecture at Göttingen] (2009) 
 Davide Osenda 

This beautifully illustrated comic book presents a professor's last lecture to a (nearly) empty auditorium as the Nazi's begin to gather the city's Jews outside. It is perhaps a stretch to call this "fiction";... (more) 


Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture (1992) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis 

This novel, recently (2000) translated from Greek, follows the attempts of
fictional mathematician Petros Papachristos to prove Goldbach's
Conjecture (that every even number greater than two is the sum... (more) 


Uniform Convergence: A OneWoman Play (2016) 
 Corrine Yap 

This play about race, gender and math was written and first performed by Corrine Yap when she was a math/theater double major at Sarah Lawrence College. It has evolved and changed and continued to be... (more) 


A Universe of Sufficient Size (2019) 
 Miriam Sved 

It is only after the death of her father that an Australian sculptor learns that her mother was one of five Hungarian Jews mathematicians who worked on math research together in a public park as Hitler... (more) 


Verrechnet (2009) 
 Carl Djerassi/Isabella Gregor 

With the help of playwright/director Isabella Gregor, Djerassi updated his play Calculus (Newton's Whores). The plot still revolves around the question of priority on the invention of calculus, and especially... (more) 


Waiting for Citizen Gödel (2005) 
 Howard V. Hendrix 

Short story revolving around Godel's application for US citizenship. There is a wellknown episode from Godel's life, where Einstein and Oscar Morgenstern took Godel for his citizenship oath. Godel,... (more) 



The Whisper of Disks (2002) 
 John Meaney 

I found this to be a strange story. It switches between a few time periods in the future and in the past. The present is about a young girl, Augusta  “Gus”  who develops over time into a math and... (more) 


White Light, or What is Cantor's Continuum Problem? (1980) 
 Rudy Rucker 

I think the best description of this book is Naked Lunch
meets The Wild Numbers, with a cameo appearance by
Donald Duck's nephews. Happily, this book has recently been rereleased
(2001) in a new format... (more) 


White Rabbit, Red Wolf [This Story is a Lie] (2018) 
 Tom Pollock 

Seventeenyearold Peter Blankman is afraid of most things, but he loves his mother (a famous research psychologist), his twin sister (a tough girl who looks out for him), and math. So, he is in trouble... (more) 


Who Killed Professor X? (2010) 
 Thodoris Andriopoulos / Thanasis Gkiokas 

The famous mathematician Professor X (not to be confused with Charles Xavier) is found dead before his presentation to the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1900, and this graphic novel puts... (more) 


Whom the gods love: The story of Evariste Galois (1948) 
 Leopold Infeld 

A fictionalized biography of the illfated originator of group theory written by
a collaborator of Einstein (better known today for his joint work with Max Born on electrodynamics).
“No professor... (more) 


The Witch of Agnesi (2006) 
 Robert Spiller 

Solid murder mystery in which a high school math teacher finds the murderer of three of her best students.
My favorite thing about this book is the way that Bonnie Pinkwater and her boyfriend  the... (more) 


The Woman in Schrödinger's Wave Equations (2005) 
 Eugene Mirabelli 

The artist girlfriend of a grad student working in theoretical physics becomes interested in determining something about the mysterious woman with whom Erwin Schrödinger supposedly had an extramarital... (more) 


The World as I Found It (1987) 
 Bruce Duffy 

A fictionalized "biography" of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein
including a portrayal of Bertrand Russell.
"Very enjoyable, but barely scratches the surface of Wittgenstein's life,
work, and character... (more) 


Über die Schrift hinaus (2018) 
 Ulla Berkéwicz 

The first part of this book is a kind of essay on a "fictional history of
ideas": That an initial, prehistoric life of mind, or spirituality,
which had been esoteric and outside the scope of linguistic
expression,... (more) 
